Buyer’s Guide to Warehouse Management Systems
07 December 2021
Whether you have a legacy Warehouse Management System (WMS) you want to replace, or you’re looking for your first WMS, read on to discover the key considerations you should be thinking about before taking the plunge.
Your WMS plays a key part in your business’ supply chain and selecting the right system for your business could mean the difference between operational success and failure. Ideally you should be looking for a WMS which integrates seamlessly with your Inventory Management System or your ERP in order to streamline your processes and maximise your efficiency. So, if you are using a well-known system such as SAP or Microsoft Dynamics, be sure to select a WMS which integrates effectively.
Scanning and Tracking Technology
A key element of a successful WMS is that it can be used to locate and track inventory, and facilitate communications across your warehouse using real-time data. You should therefore look for a system which uses the latest scanning and tracking technology, including wireless and RFID hardware such as:
- Wireless scanners: short range and long range
- Wireless barcode and label printers
- Wearable technology such as ring scanners
- Vehicle mounted computers and printers
- Handheld mobile computers
- RFID tags and scanners
- Hardware with ‘push to talk’ functionality
Your chosen WMS should also integrate with your Goods Inward/Outward solution and your ERP. Scanning technology can then be used for effective intake and recording the exact location an item should be put away, simultaneously reconciling orders and managing discrepancies or damaged goods at the point of intake. Likewise, when an item is outbound, your solution should give you the exact location of the item for quick and accurate picking.
The warehouse environment is tough; hardware is frequently dropped at height directly onto concrete, screens can be easily scratched, and hardware is regularly passed between shifts so damage often goes unreported. However, selecting a WMS which uses rugged hardware will minimise damage and losses. With high IP ratings and drop specs, hardware which is designed for the warehouse environment will last for longer, surviving drops and scrapes, providing a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than standard commercial devices.
Vehicle Mounted Hardware
If your warehouse uses vehicles such as forklift trucks, you will no doubt have experienced devices being misplaced as they are left at the last picking location, or reports of how getting in and out of a vehicle repeatedly can slow down processes, or even cause injury. This is why a key part of a WMS is the use of vehicle mounted hardware.
Fitted directly on to the vehicle, these devices are vibration-proof and set in hard metal frames to prevent damage. They offer extended battery life and have an incredibly small footprint which makes them ideal for a busy warehouse. Print labels from the vehicle, scan labels over a long distance from a seated position, and improve the comfort and safety of the operator by reducing the number of times they need to leave the vehicle for maximum efficiency.
Bar Code Data’s Warehouse Management System has been created by our own in-house developers and, with years of experience in the industry, our solution has been built to satisfy any of the issues we have raised. Alongside our hardware offering from premium vendors such as Zebra, Datalogic and Honeywell, we can provide a complete solution for your warehouse.
To discuss your needs, call our expert team on 03333 660 842 or get in touch via our Contact Us page.