According to Gartner, by 2020 over 2/3rd of warehouses are likely to turn to effective warehouse technology for managing their day-to-day operations. WMS is playing a critical role in reducing potential product damages, bringing about a 360° change in inventory control, making stocks more visible, and ultimately in reducing overall cost. That apart, WMS is also becoming an essential component to help responsible organizations reduce their carbon footprint and to thus help them in building a greener environment. Clearly, once something of a weak-link, Warehouse management solutions have today become the lifeline of the modern supply chain. Today, companies with the help of an effective WMS can easily automate the various warehouse functions and effectively manage inventory to ensure smooth functioning of the supply chain.

You’ve probably considered a WMS too – but how to choose the right option? With an array of warehouse management solutions available in the market, choosing the one appropriate for your business can be quite a task. To make that choice just that bit more informed we suggest looking for these six “must have” features first.

1.Cycle counting

Look for a WMS that provides the flexibility to the operations team to instantly check for a specific product or inventory in a specified period. This helps the operations team easily get a picture of the inventory in real-time too.They will always have an accurate picture of what they have in stock. Counting the entire inventory physically doesn’t yield accurate results, and is a drain on time, effort, and ultimately money. Shutting down the entire process for counting is also so old-school. Therefore, choose a WMS software with cycle counting feature.

2.Incident tracking

Another important feature in WMS is incident tracking, which includes tracking of every single issue with the WMS. The warehouse is a complex ecosystem with several hundreds of inputs and outputs to several hundreds of vendors and customers. Such a complex ecosystem is awash with incidents related to receipt mismatches, wrong shipments, cycle count discrepancies, inventory issues, and other complaints of vendors and customers.Structured tracking of all these incidents is mandatory for ensuring their satisfactory resolution. Solutions that are incapable of incident tracking reduce the performance of the employees and degrade customer service.

3.Paperless receiving

This feature in a WMS effectively migrates the paper-based receiving process to a digital process. Once the order has been placed, the requirement reaches the warehouse, from where the shipment is carried out. On receiving the goods, the receipt is manually entered into the system. But, with the help of WMS, this manual process can be eliminated.The data is captured electronically as soon as the items are received or shipped. The same reflects instantly in the ERP system. The paperless receiving empowers the WMS to process multiple orders and use barcode scanning to locate the product for shipping. In short, the entire journey is made efficient, seamless, faster, and less prone to errors.

4.Cloud storage

Storage is often an overlooked aspect of WMS but it has now become a critical feature. Storing enormous amounts of data and maintaining records on paper is a mammoth process. Imagine, Amazon saving each order receipt on paper -the company would probably require hectares of land just to store the data. Therefore, look for a WMS offering cloud-based storage to ease this particular pain of business operations. When data is stored remotely, taking backup related to bills, sales and inventory becomes a cakewalk. Furthermore, the data can be extracted on-demand, as needed.

5.Locator functionality

Searching for a single product in a large warehouse is time-consuming and inefficient. Therefore, the WMS software should have a product locator functionality. This provides real-time visibility into the physical location of the goods in the warehouse. You start by designing a flow through your warehouse and assigning a unique identifier to each location, like a number. The WMS easily tracks the location when queried, thereby reducing the time taken to find the product manually.

6.Integration with ERP

One critical aspect to consider in the WMS is the integration with the ERP system. The ERP has now become the operational heart of the enterprise and the WMS software should work in tandem with it for your business to thrive. Tight integration and two-way communication based on a common understanding of standards is the base for this happy marriage. Honestly, a WMS software not integrated with the ERP is a wasted effort today.
An effective WMS enhances both the productivity and efficiency. It can help your organizations minimize inventory damages and create transparency throughout the dispatch and shipment process. It’s time for you to consider a WMS – but start with these 6 “must have” features.

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