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OMS and WMS: Benefits of Combining the Use of an Order Management System with a Warehouse Management System

Warehouse management systems (WMSs) and order management systems (OMSs) have evolved tremendously with the rise of the internet. As explained by Patti Satterfield of Inbound Logistics, the lines between these systems, which may have included previous enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), have become blurred. Essentially, the benefits of both OMS and WMS have taken on characteristics of its counterparts, and for some, combining these systems into a single, cohesive system can have profound benefits across the increasingly omnichannel supply chain.

Flexible Process Options in Combining OMS and WMS Meet Omnichannel Demand

Flexible Processes are essential to creating and managing omnichannel supply chains. Since customers demand an omnichannel solution, combining all sales channels warrants integrated systems. In other words, these systems should share information to create a seamless experience for the customer, and they must have the capacity to address possible issues that arise during order fulfillment.

Reverse logistics, like returns or recycled products, are another major issue that requires the flexibility found in combined OMS and WMS systems. According to by Chris Arnold of Supply & Demand Chain Executive, errors during picking and packaging that result in returns lead to low customer satisfaction, increased shipping and handling costs and possible “damage-control” costs for maintaining the company’s reputation to the customer. As a result, all processes must be able to control both inbound and outbound logistics, including returns, while still managing slotting, picking, packaging, and shipping. In other words, the connection between these systems allows for more control over all processes and better responsiveness when issues arise.

Combined Systems Reduce Overall Picking Costs and Improve Slotting Optimization

Combining the WMS and OMS also helps to reduce picking costs and improve slotting optimization in warehouses. The key to understanding how the combination promotes picking and slotting optimization is rooted in the use of Big Data and analytics.

For example, this combination allows powerful analytics to determine customer trends in ordering and adjust slotting configurations to promote faster lead times. Since the systems’ connection automatically shares data, warehouse managers can better plan staff schedules and accommodate changes in demand. As a result, overall scalability is enhanced, and order accuracy during peaks increases simultaneously. Obviously, fewer costs during peaks and lulls help retailers keep costs down and streamline accounting processes for all parties involved.

Greater Visibility Into Order Fulfillment Enhances Customer Service With a Focus on a Seamless Omnichannel Experience

Consider how connected systems promote better visibility into warehouses and product cycles. Paired with the increasing demands of consumers, bridging the gap between the WMS and OMS is essential to creating a transparent order process in the omnichannel supply chain.

Unlike traditional, multi-channel sales strategies, omnichannel sales rely on the continued collaboration and partnership between all sales channels to create a seamless experience for customers. However, this is not possible unless all partners have a seamless way of seeing like information and responding to customer needs. In other words, data from both systems should be interchanged and used to derive better visibility into the order fulfillment process.

For example, combined systems can trigger alerts to customers regarding possible delays or ways the company is handling a possible issue. Similarly, the combined system can alert managers and team members of possible issues, addressing problems before they result in a negative customer experience.

Combined OMS and WMS Is the Future

The demand for a seamless, cohesive experience among customers and businesses is only going to grow stronger. Companies must combine OMS and WMS systems to create an ideal, omnichannel sales experience. Those that fail to meet this benchmark will face rising overhead costs and greater difficulty in pleasing customers.