Warehouse efficiency improvements using WMS

What efficiencies will your WMS bring to your warehouse and your business?  Which ones do you need?  A warehouse management system (WMS) will help you be more efficient and possibly in some ways you haven’t considered yet.  Here are a few possibilities.

Every item in the right slot

Your WMS looks to every future pick or ship demand and calculates the right slot for today’s demand and tomorrow’s too.  Did a new delivery just arrive?  As your workers unload the truck, WMS is helping them put it away immediately where it should go.  When there is an immediate shipping demand, WMS doesn’t ever put the item away but says to place it at the shipping dock now for cross-docking.

Items that are touched every day for one order or another will get a place right at the front of your warehouse.  Another item that no longer has an immediate demand will get a slot somewhere in the back corner.  WMS will keep your bins full but not too full.  Heavy items will get a spot where they can be managed.  That expensive item will find its home just outside the manager’s office or somewhere it can be secured properly.

All that slotting is not only for the best location of each item.  Slotting will also help place items where the system can plan easy and precise pick flows based on open orders and historical patterns.  This will make your labor much more efficient through the use of good workflows.

Better inventory management

You know there was a box of that stuff recently but where is it now?  WMS to the rescue!  No matter in how many bins a certain item might be stored, WMS will pinpoint each one quickly and accurately.  Not only the accurate count, but you can easily know which one is the oldest, freshest and which one has an expiration date that is near.

Good cycle counting leads to that accuracy.   WMS can be set to count all of any item or only those in certain bin locations.  Cycle counting can be set based on inventory dollars, transaction frequency, most recent variances, or almost any other value important in your business.

WMS also helps you optimize your inventory.  Surplus inventory is identified immediately giving you a chance to dispose of it while it still has value.  You might even be able to ask your customer to increase an order, perhaps at a discount, so your on-hand inventory will drop to zero, not leaving a small quantity never to be sold.

That highly accurate inventory means your inventory is optimized, surplus inventory is eliminated, and you have enough to satisfy your customers.

Better work management

The accurate inventory and optimized slotting you get from WMS means you can plan your labor requirements more accurately.  Picking time and put away time are tracked and engineered so you can schedule the right number of people for tomorrow and next week with confidence.  You might know a truckload will arrive later in the week that will need to be unloaded by hand.  No problem, you can use WMS to schedule temp workers to cover the extra load.

There are many efficiency improvements available in your warehouse from a WMS system.  Which ones will add to your profit?


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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle.

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Tom Miller

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