There are many warehouse management systems out there, but very few that offer truly advanced functionality that can help take a warehouse from basic to exceptional. Here are 14 advanced features to look for when assessing a WMS for your distribution business.
1. Automation Integration
If you run, or plan to run automation equipment in your warehouse, it’s crucial to find a WMS that can interact with your capital investments. Does your potential WMS drive the carousel for increased productivity?
2. Cycle Counting and Cycle Count Planning
The WMS should provide the flexibility to check specific inventory over specified time periods. Users need to be able to adjust inventory in real-time, so that you have a more accurate picture of what you have in stock.
3. Front Counter
Customer-facing store staff should be able to send order requests directly to the warehouse or build an order right from a hand-held terminal. Customers should also be able to watch the status of their order onscreen while they wait.
4. Incident Tracking
Does the WMS effectively manage and maintain lists of warehouse issues, ensuring incidents are correctly and quickly resolved. Incident tracking can help you better manage personnel and improve customer service.
5. Lot Control
A WMS should determine where a product belongs physically, how long it should be stocked, and which items should be shipped to specific customers. Lot control will automatically prevent you from selling items that are expired.
Does the WMS streamline the entire shipping process to move more packages per day with greater accuracy, all at a lower cost? The WMS should be compliant with multiple carriers including UPS, FedEx and LTL Shipping.
7. Paperless Zone Picking
With a good WMS, specific orders can be selected, batched and sent directly to an RF terminal user to pick for a given route or prompt for a priority order to service a will call customer.
Does your potential WMS generate orders to keep picking bins properly stocked? Replenishment prevents delays in order fulfillment, keeping customers happy.
9. Route Shipping
A WMS should accommodate trucks with regular routes, or trucks whose routes change daily adhering to easy and dynamic stop sequences, and making deliveries efficient.
10. Serial Number Tracking
Does the WMS manage warranty and customer returns as well as track high-value items through the warehouse? Serial number capabilities truly separate the world-class warehouse management systems from the rest.
11. Slotting Optimization
A good WMS should monitor physical item velocity within a warehouse and suggest optimal pick and put-away locations based on whether they're fast or slow moving.
12. Verification of Truck Loading
Does the WMS use trailer bar code labels, and verify that the loading is accurate and complete?
13. Warehouse Metrics
A good WMS should have a graphical representation of employee-to-employee performance, any transactions performed during a specific time period and branch-to-branch comparisons. This should all be based on user-established parameters and filters.
14. WMS Utilities
With a WMS, your warehouse employees (and you!) can locate, move, and adjust inventory as needed.
A good warehouse management solution empowers managers to make better decisions about inventory stocking, movement, and employee efficiency because information is accurate and readily accessible.