In these days of booming e-commerce and global competition logistics is literally what makes our world go around. This puts high pressure on transport systems as well as warehouse operations. Thus, managing your warehouse as efficiently as possible is an absolute must to succeed in today’s competition. In this blog post we will take a closer look at what warehouse management really is, and how you can use it to improve your business.

WHAT DOES WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT MEAN, REALLY?

The basic definition of warehouse management is exactly what it sounds like; measures being taken (e.g. implementing a warehouse management system) to manage a warehouse. The purpose of warehouse management is to improve warehouse operations by controlling, prioritizing, analyzing, and optimizing all day-to-day warehouse activities, such as:

  • Inbound processes

  • Storing and slotting

  • Picking

  • Packing

  • Return handling

All warehouse activities generate work processes, which demand use of time, space, people, and equipment. These processes can be either automated or manual. Most modern warehouses use some form of automation equipment, such as conveyors and cranes, to increase efficiency. Some warehouses are fully automated, but a combination of manual and automated processes are more common. In this case a solution for warehouse management has to contain logic for both automated and manual processes, as well as shared logic – to make automated and manual process optimized together.

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WHY IS WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT?

It is easy to understand why keeping things in order in your warehouse is better for business than having a mess. But having an efficient support for warehouse management has a number of advantages, all beneficial for different aspects of your operations.

Speed. Picking and packing is a time-consuming activity and by using warehouse management to optimize pick routes and facilitate picking with e g voice picking much time can be saved. This will in turn lead to faster deliveries and higher customer satisfaction. Which is good for increasing sales.

Space. Analyzing order patterns and customer behavior is an important part of warehouse management. This information can be used to optimize storage, by e g placing best-selling items closest and articles often bought together close together. This is also a way to utilize warehouse space as efficiently as possible. Which is good for lowering property costs.

Quality. Picking errors is a huge cost for many companies, and an important source of customer dissatisfaction. Efficient warehouse management not only makes picking faster, but also more accurate. Which is good for improving return rates.

Working environment. A warehouse management system includes many functions to make daily work easier and more ergonomic. But also to increase motivation and lower frustration, by reducing unnecessary work and making tasks more transparent. Which is good for increasing employee satisfaction.

Sustainability. Using space and resources more efficiently is not only cost-effective, but also a way to make your business more eco-friendly. Increasing the life-span of equipment by optimizing pick-routes and shipping less air through AI-driven box calculation are only two examples of how warehouse management can make your warehouse greener. Which is good for our future. And your business.

HOW DOES A WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (WMS) WORK?

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a software application design to control and optimize warehouse activities. It can be a module in an ERP-system or part of a warehouse automation solution, but for companies where warehousing is a strategic part of the operations a specialized best-of-breed WMS is often the best choice. The WMS connects all levels of business logic and machine control in the warehouse, and interacts with other systems, such as  the ERP, WCS and transport systems. When choosing a WMS the starting point should be your company’s individual needs, today and in the future. But some general things to look for in a WMS product and supplier can be:

  • Scalability
  • Flexibility
  • Easy to implement
  • Expertise
  • Development and support resources
  • Strategic partnerships
Learn more about warehouse managment systems