Advantages of WMS for international supply chain management

Warehouse management systems provide a variety of benefits and optimizations for any warehouse, but they can do the same for the broader supply chain too. When thinking globally, there are significant advantages for any company that adopts one of the types of warehouse management systems designed for this type of scale. Here are a few of the main advantages for a WMS supply chain.

Integration with partners

A global supply chain is nothing if not complex. Trying to manage the areas that carriers service as well as estimate their costs and timelines is incredibly difficult when it is a manual process, even if it runs smoothly. When a disruption happens, that manual process grinds to a halt.

Applying a new supply-chain focused WMS to this complex supply chain can significantly alleviate these concerns, especially if you have multiple suppliers or seasonal products and components. A WMS can integrate with your partners to automate the process and ensure you have the supplies you need, get noticed about delays, and much more.

Currency and document management

International supply chains see goods and components move great distances before a final product is completed and delivered to the client. Insurance and liability changes at nearly every hand-off along the way. You must track all of this risk and manage the documentation to ensure your supply chain is protected in the event of an accident at any moment. A WMS can automate the process and even support advanced features like electronic signature capturing.

Don't forget to include these critical supply chain management requirements into your WMS selection

Different suppliers and partners may be paid with different currencies, but your company needs to understand the total costs. The warehouse management process is the right system to apply to track the entire supply chain and attach individual costs along the way, simplifying your management while also properly tracking the documents you need.

Order and fulfillment automation

International supply chain management is essentially a web of connected local supply chains. Each piece moves in relation to local laws and requirements as well as international considerations. The warehouse management system makes it easier to scale and manage this growth, ensuring that practices are compliant.

For example, a robust warehouse management process and system can ensure that you’re using the right modes for each product. This might keep lithium-ion batteries on rail or ocean freight in some countries, while air travel is acceptable in others.

In a complex supply chain, a global player can fulfill customer orders from multiple distribution centers. If the process is automated, this can be executed more seamlessly and easily optimize fulfilling orders for each client in each location. Plus, many can integrate with ERPs for greater control.

Smart merge in transit

Merge-in-transit distribution can often eliminate the need for different distribution warehouses in a supply chain. It’s a complex system that finds locations to merge different orders to arrive at a manufacturer at a single time, often combining multiple LTL loads into an FTL to make management of that business easier.

When done correctly, it can allow a company to save costs by reducing inventory, increasing visibility, and eliminating redundant transportation requirements. The practice is growing in the telecom space and is often more efficient when managed automatically through a WMS.

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Geoff Whiting

About the author…

Geoff is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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Geoff Whiting

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