Improve Your Inventory Management with a Warehouse Management System
One question I often receive from speaking with clients is how to better manage their inventory using bar codes. This can be done with a Warehouse Management System (WMS). A WMS is a set of tools that allows clients to take full control of their warehouse and inventory. Software and hardware are combined to make inventory management processes accurate and efficient.
Key benefits from a WMS include:
- Reduction of costs and waste
- Increased accuracy
- Automation of labor intensive processes
- Comprehensive inventory data
A Warehouse Management System manages inventory by tracking an item’s specific location and movement. As a result, you can lower costs by reducing inventory loss and waste. With the correct processes in place, you also have better control by knowing exactly where inventory is at any point in time.
A WMS tracks valuable information about inventory such as location, quantity, lot/serial numbers, and shelf life. When WMS software is used in conjunction with remote handheld devices (such as barcode scanners and mobile computers), order pickers can easily perform inventory transactions, queries, and even label printing. As a result, accuracy and efficiency of the distribution process increases significantly.
Process automation is another key benefit for using a Warehouse Management System. By implementing the use of mobile computers and barcode scanners, shipments can be received, verified and posted in real-time through the ERP system. This results in more streamlined processes. Since inventory information is available real-time, revenue streams can be improved by fewer missed sales.
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One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses is to maintain an accurate inventory system. Data entry errors are often the cause of inaccuracies in inventory. Scanning items and processing transactions automatically through the WMS will result in significantly less data entry errors, saving time and money.
Unlike a financial management system which is not designed to provide a detailed trace history on inventory, a WMS will provide comprehensive data from the date an item is first received to the day and location of where it was sold. This can help mitigate risk for product recalls and increase customer satisfaction on returns.
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